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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment
Staff image of Keith  Holmes

Keith Holmes Integrated Crop Management Advisor

T: +41 (0)32 4214885


Rue des Grillons 1 CH-2800 Delémont, Switzerland


PhD Biocontrol/ Plant Pathology

I work with local partners in developing, transitional and developed countries to facilitate improved agricultural practices. My background is in biochemistry, mycology and plant pathology. I have over 20 years experience as a researcher/ research manager in aspects of Integrated Crop Management (ICM), including the development and application of non-conventional control approaches (biocontrol agents, elicitors of induced resistance). A particular focus has been on the research of these approaches to control fungal plant pathogens in commodity crops, in particular cocoa.

My biocontrol experience has included the development of elicitors of induced resistance against fungal disease such as powdery mildew, and development of fungal biocontrol agents against major fungal pathogens of the perennial tree Theobroma cacao, in Latin America (Moniliophthora perniciosa and M. roreri). More recently I have been involved with the development of entomopathogenic nematodes to control soil insect pests in arable and horticultural crops in DPR Korea and Rwanda.

I manage and develop collaborative international projects in mass production and use of biocontrol as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). I have been involved in various activities in pest and disease management with conventional and biological control approaches, to institutional capacity building within research and governmental institutions in Central and South America, East Asia, South East Asia and West Africa

Project image: Controlling Japanese knotweed in Great Britain

Partnership with DPR Korea's Ministry of Agriculture

Agricultural production in DPR Korea is low, resulting in food shortages and the need for international aid. Ensuring food security is a priority for the government. We have helped the newly-established Department of Plant Protection to sustainably improve agricultural production by optimizing its ability to...
Project image: Controlling Japanese knotweed in Great Britain

Partnerships for improving fruit production in DPR Korea

Despite advances in agriculture in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea), a shortage of fresh produce undermines the population’s nutritional status. Fruit is grown on large state farms and cooperative farms, but pests and diseases reduce yields and quality. CABI is working with key...
  1. Krauss, U., Hidalgo, E., Bateman, R., Adonijah, V., Arroyo, C., García, J., Crozier, J., Brown, N., ten Hoopen, G.M. and Holmes, K. A. (2010) Improving the formulation and timing of application of chemical and endophytic biocontrol agents against frosty pod rot (Moniliophthora roreri) in cocoa (Theobroma cacao). Biological Control (in press)

  2. Thomas, S.E., Crozier, J., Aime, M. C., Evans, H.C. and Holmes, K. A. (2008) Molecular characterisation of fungal endophytic morpho-species associated with the indigenous forest tree, Theobroma gileri in Ecuador. Mycological Research 112, 852-860.
  3. Bailey, B. A., Bae, H., Strem, M. D., Crozier, J., Thomas, S. E., Samuels, G. J., Vinyard, B.T. and Holmes, K. A. (2008) Antibiosis, mycoparasitism and colonisation success for endophytic Trichoderma isolates with biological control potential in Theobroma cacao. Biological Control, 46, 24-35.
  4. Bailey, B. A., Bae, H., Strem, M. D., Schroers, H.-J., Thomas, S. E., Samuels, G. J., Choi, I-Y and Holmes, K. A. (2006) Fungal and plant gene expression during the colonization of Theobroma cacao seedlings by isolates of four Trichoderma species. Planta, 224, 1449-1464.
  5. Samuels, G.J., Suarez, C., Solis, K., Holmes, K.A., Thomas, S.E., Ismaiel, A. and Evans, H.C. (2006) Trichoderma theobromicola and T. paucisporum: two new species from South America. Mycological Research, 110. 381-392.
  6. Crozier, J., Thomas, S.E., Aime, M. C., Evans, H. C. and Holmes, K. A. (2006) Molecular characterisation of endophytic morpho-species isolated from cocoa (Theobroma cacao). Plant Pathology 55, 783-791.
  7. Bailey, B.A., Bae, H., Strem, M.D., Samuels, G.J., Evans, H.C., Thomas, S.E. and Holmes, K.A. 2005. Molecular responses resulting from the endophytic association between Trichoderma species and cocoa (Theobroma cacao). American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting. Phytopathology 95:s5
  8. Holmes, K.A., Schroers, H-J, Thomas, S.E., Evans, H.C. and Samuels, G. J. (2004).Taxonomy and biocontrol potential of a new species of Trichoderma from the Amazon basin of South America. Mycological Progress 3(3) 199-210.
  9. Bateman, R., Holmes, K. and Krauss U. (2004) Tactics and tools for pest management. In: Cocoa Futures- a source book for important issues facing the cocoa and chocolate industry. CABI Commodities, Chapter 7. pp.77-93.
  10. Flood, J., Guest, D., Holmes, K., Keane, P., Padi. B. and Sulistyowat, E. (2004). Cocoa under Attack . In: Cocoa Futures- a source book for important issues facing the cocoa and chocolate industry. CABI Commodities, Chapter 4. pp. 33-53.
  11. Evans, H.C., Holmes, K.A. and Thomas, S.E. (2003). Endophytes and mycoparasites associated with an indigenous forest tree, Theobroma gileri, in Ecuador and a preliminary assessment of their potential as biocontrol agents of cocoa diseases. Mycological Progress 2 (2) 149-160.
  12. Holmes, K.A., Evans, H. C., Wayne, S. and Smith, J. (2003). Irvingia, a forest host of the cocoa black-pod pathogen Phytophthora megakarya , in Cameroon. Plant Pathology 52, 486-490.
  13. Evans, H.C., Holmes, K.A. and Reid, A.P (2003) Phylogeny of the frosty rot pod pathogen of cocoa. Plant Pathology, 52, 476-485.
  14. Holmes, K.A., Evans, H.C. and Pomella, A. (2002) Insider knowledge: Endophytes for cacao disease biocontrol. Biocontrol News and Information, 23 (4), 86-88.
  15. Evans, H.C. and Holmes, K. A., Phillips, W. and Wilkinson, M. J. (2002) Frosty pod rot of cocoa: what’s in a name?, Mycologist, 16, (4) 148-152.
  16. Crozier, J., Holmes, K., Craig, G. And Nayagam, S. (2001). In-vitro screening for fungal antagonists of wood decay fungi in tropical hardwoods, Materials und organizmen 33(4) 245-260.
  17. Holmes, K.A., Nayagam, S.D. and Craig, G.D. (1998). Factors affecting the control of Pythium ultimum damping-off of sugar beet by Pythium oligandrum. Plant Pathology 47, 516-522.
  18. Khan, S., Nadir, S., Lihua, G., Xu, J., Holmes, K.A., Dewen, Q. (2015) Identification and characterisation of an insect toxin protein, Bb70p, from the entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana, using Galleria mellonella as a model system. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (Accepted)


  19. Holmes, K.A., Chen, J., Bollhalder, F.,  Ri, U.S., Waweru,B., Li,H., Toepfer, S. (2015) Designing factories for nematode-based biological control products for an environmentally friendly management of soil insect pests. African Journal of Agricultural Research (Accepted)

  20. Crozier, J., Arroyo, C., Morales, H., Melnick, R.L.,  Strem, M.D., Collins, R., Holmes,K.A., and Bailey,B.A. (2015) The influence of formulation on Trichoderma biological activity and frosty pod rot disease management in Theobroma cacao. Plant Pathology  64, 1385- 1395


  21. Kang, S.I., Ryang, Y.S., Pak, I.C., Kang, C.H., Min, S.K., Holmes, K., Toepfer, S., Bollhalder, F., Chen, J. and Li. H. (2014) Entomopathogenic Nematode Production Manual (Korean Language). Foreign Language Publishing House, Pyongyang, DPR Korea, 82 pages

  22. Toepfer, S., Li, H.M.,  Pak, S.G., Son, K.M. Ryang, Y.S., Kang, S.I., Han, R.I., Holmes, K. (2014) Soil insect pests of cold temperate zones of East Asia, including DPR Korea: A review. Journal of Pest Science pp.1-29

  23. Pae, S.N. and  Holmes, K. (Eds.) (2013) Proceedings of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences – CABI Joint Scientific Symposium on Pest Monitoring and Forecasting, Pyongyang, DPR Korea, 28-30 August, 2012. Agricultural Information Technology Institute, Academy of Agricultural Sciences. 287p

  24. Tomoshevich, M., Kirichenko, N., Holmes, K., Kenis, M. (2013). Foliar fungal pathogens of European woody plants in Siberia: an early warning of potential threats? Forest Pathology. 43 (5). P. 345-359. DOI:10.1111/efp.12036

  25. Kim, M.K., Choe, K., Kim, R.J., Han, W.S., Ri, J.K., Kang, S.I., Holmes, K., Ri, J.O., Ri, K.N, Hunt, E., Kuhlmann, U., Grossrieder, M. (2014) Pesticide Spray Operators Manual (Korean language). [Revised and Reissued]. Foreign Language Publishing House, Pyongyang, DPR Korea, 44 pp.

  26. Krauss, U., Adonijah, V., Arroyo, C., Bekker, M.,  Crozier, J.,  Gamboa, A., Steuten, C. and Holmes, K. (2012) Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) yield increase in Costa Rica through novel stress management and fertilization approach. Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences, Vol. 2 (3), pp. 68-78, 2012.

  27. Norgrove, L., Tueche J R, Jacobsen K S, Nkakwa Atteye A, Holmes K A (2012). Tackling black leaf streak disease (BLSD) and soil fertility constraints to expand plantain production to grassland in the humid tropics. International Journal of Pest Management, Vol. 58, No. 2, 2012, 175–181.